Advocates call for the city to end ordinances targeting homeless

A coalition called “Decarcerate ATX”  is calling on the city of Austin to repeal three ordinances they say: criminalize the homeless.

The first ordinance, 9.4.14 prohibits sitting or lying on a sidewalk or sleeping outdoors in the downtown business area. The other is ordinance 9.4.13, which limits actions related to panhandling. The third ordinance 9.4.11 is an ordinance banning camping in public areas. 

The advocates said they are calling on city council to get rid of the rules, as they only make things worse, they said. Albin Sanderson is homeless right now. At a Tuesday press conference, he described a time when officers approached him while he was sleeping one evening.

“They gave me a ticket for camping. They told me to move on. About a week later I had no place to go so I stayed there about a week. I got another ticket. Every day I had to hunt for a place to sleep,” said Sanderson.

“Don’t push the homeless people further into debt. This is doing a disservice to humanity,” said Annette Price with The Texas Fair Defense Project.

Advocates say the city should be putting the homeless in jobs and, providing homes instead of locking them up.